Since November 2012, different Bangladeshi news dailies, activists, academics, trade unions as well as the international media have been rallying in support of the rights of Tazreen Fashion victims and their families for their compensation and for the punishment of their criminally negligent boss Mr. Delwar Hossain – who as a matter of fact also happens to be the owner of the closed factories of Tuba Group.
Mr. Delwar, claiming himself to be the victim of those who “conspire” to support and defend human and worker rights for the underprivileged or rather oppressed working hands that build Bangladesh, have recently closed down 4 of his factories where workers demanded their unpaid wages and some festival bonuses.
According to Mr. Delwar and the powerful elites of BGMEA’s interpretation of Bangladesh Labor Law 2006 (amended 2013), the workers have staged an illegal protest demanding their unpaid monthly wages and overtime payment for which they worked day and night to earn their factory millions of dollars. Such a sin of workers, backed by their expectation of a festival bonus, could not be accepted by Mr. Delwar and his BGMEA friends. Thus, ultimately, Mr. Delwar closed down his factories without a flinch!
The continued hue and cry by activists, academic, Tuba Group workers and the general public keeps falling into deaf ears as the leaders of the BGMEA and Delwar Hossain with support of the government rally together in support of one another.
After repeated denial of involvement in Delwar’s release by the BGMEA, new evidences have surfaced from a leading news daily regarding BGMEA’s pressure on the government for the release of Delwar Hossain , where the BGMEA sent a letter to the Employment Ministry (received by the Ministry on 30 June 2014) listing the reasons for which the government should become active and work for the release of Tuba Group and Tazreen Fashion’s infamous owner.
The Tuba Group tension after that letter, and Delwar’s immediate release cannot be mere coincidences.
Claiming to be wretched, now Delwar can usually be seen crying in front of public and private media in Bangladesh, asking for mercy and understanding. With property worth many millions, Delwar claims being penniless to pay his workers who have helped his factories export garment worth millions. Moreover, Delwar’s Tuba Group recently informed the government about their inability to start the closed factories unless Tazreen Fashion’s insurance claims are paid to them which have previously been rejected on legal grounds by the insurance provider. The government however have promised the Tuba Group that it will go greater lengths to ensure the payment of the insurance claims, to which the insurance company expresses shock due to what it asserts is unlawful .
There was however, no statement on the compensation of Tazreen Fashion workers, who still reel from the horrors of the 24th November 2012 inferno, which still causes them not only to shudder, but also die off with fatal diseases like cancer and others developing slowly inside them. These wretched souls of hardy workers, denied of justice, dignity or compassion from those who have benefited from them both home and abroad, now lay helpless staring at the face of a decadent fashion industry and its horrendous unethical supply chain.
Now, on the 25th conference of the 25 member RMG Forum, when RMG owners and the Commerce Ministry gathered discussing welfare of the industry and the condition of workers, Tuba Group Workers held a rally to visit the premises of the conference. These workers were stopped midway and they had to accommodate themselves under the open skies and a pitched hard road without any signs of justice or compassion from the very people they service or those who claim to be there to serve them!
Alone, abandoned and cursed with names such as “illegal” “conspirator” and “nuisances” by the elite and powerful of their own land, Tuba Group workers claimed back their jobs and unpaid salaries for August and September this year. The workers demand the right to self dignity, the right to see punishment reaching their murderous boss.